Q&A: Cherie Peters

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Riviera resident Cherie Peters has worked in the best of both worlds: TV and now real estate. Here she shares how her career has taken her from ski instructor to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Shmerling: Tell me about your childhood. Where were you born and where did you grow up? What were some of your hobbies and interests as a child and teenager?

Peters: I did most of my growing up in Northern California in a beautiful town called Atherton near Menlo Park and Palo Alto. As a child I loved dance and theater, and played the lead in my middle school play.

In high school, I was president of our social clubs and organized fundraisers, fashion shows and ski trips. Skiing and tennis were my two favorite sports.

My family moved to Southern California my senior year of high school where I attended Palos Verdes High School. Throughout my high school years I worked in retail and became assistant manager of small boutique in Palos Verdes called The Beach Girl.

The owner of the shop really took me under her wing, and taught me so much about a strong work ethic and running a small business at a very early age, which made a lasting impression.

Shmerling: Where did you go to college and what did you study?

Peters: I attended the University of Southern California where I started out as a business major and then later changed to education.

Shmerling: What was your first job out of college? What led you to choose a career in real estate?

Peters: After college I was ready for an adventure, so I moved to the mountains and became a ski instructor. I taught at Mammoth and then Sun Valley, Idaho, before moving back to LA to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

With a passion for travel and adventure, I eventually found my niche in lifestyle programming. I traveled the world during my seven seasons as a director on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” before starting my own production company where I created content that matched my personal passions, including travel, entertaining, cooking, sports, documentary and the arts.

I produced and directed one of the first real estate shows for HGTV called “Fantasy Open House,” which combined my two passions: TV and real estate.

My passion for real estate began after purchasing my first home in the Silver Strand of Marina del Rey. I negotiated the deal with the builder’s agent and have been hooked on real estate ever since.

Like many homeowners, I followed the market religiously. It became a favorite pastime for me. I later became a Zillow junkie until finally, my husband and son both said, “This is crazy … you have to go into real estate, you love it so much.”

And they were right! It has been so much fun working with some amazing clients and an incredible team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Shmerling: How long have you lived in the Palisades and in which neighborhoods? What brought you here and why do you stay?

Peters: My son started school at St. Matthews, and I fell in love with the community and small town feel here. I scoured the Palisades market for years before finding our fixer in The Riviera in 1996.

We were told at the time that our mid-century modern was a tear down. (At the time, this style of home was certainly not in vogue.)

My husband, Paul, is an architect and production designer in film and TV. The two of us took one look and could see the home’s potential, and we’ve have had such fun bringing it back to life.

We are only the second family to live in our home, which was built in 1958. I realized then that there’s a reason people never want to leave our incredible town.

Shmerling: How does your background help you when working with clients to buy or sell a home?

Peters: My background in the television industry has served me remarkably well in my career in real estate—from negotiating contracts, marketing to problem solving.

Running my own production company, I was not only involved in the creative process, but also managed the financial aspect of the business. Working in production, you make what seems the impossible, possible.

I think that “can do” attitude is an asset in real estate. No matter what the budget, I am determined to find the perfect home and lifestyle for my clients … and I don’t stop looking until we do.

Remaining calm under pressure is another necessary quality in both industries. And lastly vision, the ability to see the potential in a home for buyers, and to help sellers create that perfect atmosphere to attract buyers to a home.    

Shmerling: Do you represent homes in all neighborhoods of the Palisades?

Peters: Yes. There are so many great neighborhoods within the Palisades, but honestly having lived all over Southern California, I have clients as far away as Hancock Park where I just sold a beautiful home.

I think real estate has changed so dramatically over the years. We don’t just work in one small neighborhood. The internet has allowed us to get a tremendous overview of many areas throughout Los Angeles.

Shmerling: Tell me about how you approach new clients who are aiming to buy or sell a home.

Peters: One of the most important things I can do is listen to a client’s needs and find out what’s important to them. Is it a view, lots of privacy or the ability to walk everywhere?

It’s not only about buying a home, it’s about buying a lifestyle, and the Los Angeles area offers such a variety of choices.

Shmerling: What are some of the most memorable homes you have sold or helped a client purchase?

Peters: Introducing my recent clients relocating from the Midwest to Pacific Palisades was so much fun. I showed them around Santa Monica and Brentwood as well … but just knew they would love the lifestyle here in the Palisades.

We found them a beautiful new home in The Huntington. With four children ages 5 and under, the ability to walk to the park, library, grocery, bank, post office and, soon, the new Caruso center suited their family’s busy life.

Escaping the harsh winters and sweltering summers in the Midwest was a big motivation for them and they are going to love our perfect climate in the Palisades.

Introducing such a fantastic family to the Palisades made me realize even more how much I love it here.

Shmerling: What do you and your family like to do for fun?

Peters: I still love skiing and tennis. Paul and I are avid cyclists and really enjoy our fabulous bike paths. We’ve ridden the LA River Ride five times from Griffith Park to Long Beach.

As a family, we love to travel, cook, eat out, explore art museums and work. My son Austin graduated from NYU and is a director.

We are all so fortunate to work in industries we are passionate about. And in my case, two industries.